Scotland’s tech economy starting to bounce back as new industry figures show signs of jobs recovery

Scotland’s tech economy is starting to bounce back from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures released this week by a UK Government-backed agency.

New data analysed by Tech Nation for the Government’s Digital Economy Council ahead of London Tech Week shows that companies are starting to recover in confidence and beginning to advertise again for staff.

Scotland’s tech sector has been one of the strongest in the country, outside London and the South East, for several years now and showing encouraging signs of recovery in recent weeks with hiring announcements from several companies over the summer. Amazon said last week that it would create hundreds of new roles in Fife and Dundee. 

This is in line with the national trend where the number of vacancies advertised in the digital tech sector climbed by 36% in the last two months (7th June – 9th August 2020), as tech companies gained in confidence after the challenges of lockdown. 

Ahead of lockdown, the digital tech sector was consistently advertising over 150,000 jobs a week in the first three months of the year, according to data from jobs website Adzuna. Vacancies fell in line with all other sectors of the economy when the UK’s lockdown began, but have since recovered to stand at 90,297 by the week commencing 9th August. Tech is the UK sector posting the highest number of vacancies, after healthcare.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “These new figures demonstrate the strength and depth of our tech sector as an engine of job creation kickstarting our economy as we emerge from the pandemic.

“We are a nation of innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors, and technology will underpin our infrastructure revolution of national renewal to unite and level up the UK. This government is backing people to succeed by investing heavily in cutting-edge research, digital skills and digital infrastructure to support our economic recovery.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “It is fantastic to see our multi-billion pound digital tech sector not only continue to thrive but make a vital contribution to economic recovery as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. This report shows Scotland is a competitive choice for both companies and individuals creating high-quality, well-paid jobs.

“We are at the forefront in pushing the boundaries in areas such as artificial intelligence, big data, cyber security, fintech and gaming. The UK Government is proud to champion the digital tech sector and will continue to support its growth in Scotland.”

The data reveals that just under a fifth of the workforce in Edinburgh and Glasgow are now in digital tech, with 69,000 jobs advertised in the cities last year.

Edinburgh has 23% of workforce in digital tech roles, while Glasgow has 22%, the data revealed, and during 2019 more than 113,274 vacancies were advertised in digital tech positions across Scotland. Edinburgh’s median digital tech salary is at £44,938 making it the second highest outside London.